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March 22, 2007


Welcome to the "Ridiculum."

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Jim: Step Right Up!

The massive tent sat ominously alone at the far end of the midway, labeled by a banner bearing only one word, Ridiculum. The bored carny at the entrance collected my twenty-dollar fee and let me pass with a feigned flourish.

Tall plywood sheets mounted on four-by-fours created a winding passageway that eventually deposited me at an open metal door. With a shrug, I went into the little room and pressed a big, red button.

The door slammed shut and the opposite wall rolled up. I stepped through and found myself beyond the fairgrounds fence, locked away from the carnival inside.

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Dave: Another Satisfied Customer

They pecked away at Graham for hours, throwing barbs and taunts, pointing out in excruciating, horrifying, piercing detail all of his failings, flaws, follies, frets, and faults, flaying him with words as he sat there, on a hard wooden chair under the spotlight.

At first he protested. Then he raged. Pled. Wept. Ultimately, he sat, silent and still, eyes staring off, breathing in quiet, fitful gasps.

When it was complete, and the had others filed out, Mr. Grey walked over, stopping just outside the spotlight. He smiled, softly, and tossed the pistol into Graham’s lap. “You’ll probably be wanting that.”

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Michele: An Affair To Remember

The girl surveyed her party approvingly . There were clowns and magicians and troubadours. A calliope circle, its live unicorns carrying laughing children on their backs. There were talking elephants and a stilted man juggling pieces of a rainbow next to a tree that offered candy from its branches.

As a chorus of monkeys sang happy birthday, the girl looked toward her father.

“I told you I would do anything to make you happy, pumpkin.”

He kissed her forehead and was led away by a strange man who, the girl noticed, had a forked tail swishing beneath his jacket.

She smiled.

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Tanya: Untitled

Are you finding that you have less energy? Less stamina? Are you sleeping more and more? Laughing less? No longer really enjoying your life?

Do you no longer dance in the kitchen? Sold the trampoline and leave the pool covered all year long? Rather work Saturday than drive to the beach?

Have the pink hippos with wiggly ears left your life? Missing your little pet dragon Floyd, and your best invisible friend? You can’t even fly anymore?

Ask your doctor about Ridiculum.

Ridiculum is not for everyone. Side effects may include dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, stroke, and death.

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Jeff R.:Sales Pitch

We'd love you to join our Ridiculum,
The newest thing on our curriculum,
Less pain than a split diverticulum,
And it's better than nothing at all.

Step right up and enjoy the Stupendulous,
There's no need to be timid or tremulous,
It may feel like a clot or an embolus,
But it's safe, and inside the next stall.

And now here's the famous Amazia,
With it's world-renowned trips of fantasia,
You'll be speechless, as struck by aphasia,
(You'd best let the machine take that call.)

So join the Ridiculum! It's Awesomatic!
Perimagorical! Hyperchromatic!
Without it you'll be bored and asymptomatic.

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David: PDQ Barnum

“Step right up! Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, beloved pets, behind me stands the entryway to a museum unlike any you have ever seen before. The arena of the absurd, the coliseum of the confusing, the stadium of the stupefying. I give you—The Ridiculum!

“They say there’s only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous. Ladies and gentlemen, that step is right through this door. For only one thin dime, you too can bear witness to the largest assortment of preposterous things ever assembled!

“We guarantee that you'll walk out amused and confused or your money back!”

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Ted: Anti-Edison

In the big tent, along with the real mermaid (a topless woman with silken fins) and the genuine djinn (a heavily muscled man dressed only in jewels) lay the object of my quest.

The dwarf pulled on my elbow. "Is that the ting you're looking for?" he asked, fearful of my knife. His accent was slipping, as fake as everything else.

Everything but this, that is. The Dark Bulb.

Master needed its artificial darkness to make the herbs for his potion grow correctly.

I killed the dwarf, emasculated the djinn, and buggered the mermaid before burning this ridiculum to ashes.

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